Charles Stanley – A Life of Godliness

 

Matthew 9:11-13

There is a common misconception that believers should be perfect. Pretending to have our life in order, many of us wear a happy face and speak words that sound acceptable. At times we’re ashamed to admit our shortcomings, as if they should not exist. Salvation through Jesus, however, doesn’t change the fact that sin is present in our life. When we’re born again, God forgives us and sees us as righteous. Yet our battle with sin continues till we arrive in heaven.

In fact, striving for perfection actually can be a trap that pulls us away from living a godly life. Functioning in this way is a form of relying on our own abilities. Jesus said that He came to heal the spiritually sick because they recognized their weakness. With an awareness of our inadequacy comes the realization of our need for Him.

The world sees successful individuals as powerful and self-sufficient, but Jesus doesn’t care about these qualities. Instead, He wants people to be aware of their own brokenness. This is the foundation for godliness.

We should accept our neediness and seek God passionately. Doing so allows the following attributes to develop: a hunger for God’s Word, faithful service, deepening trust, and decision-making based upon principle rather than preference. Patiently and mercifully, God matures us.

Be careful not to cover up your sins in order to look like a “good Christian.” Without recognition and confession of our sin, we are unable to rely fully on God. It is only with this awareness that we can passionately seek Him, obey in His strength, and repent when we miss the mark.

Bible in One Year: Exodus 39-40

 

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Our Daily Bread — Rip the Heavens

 

Bible in a Year:Exodus 21–22; Matthew 19

Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down.

Isaiah 64:1

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Isaiah 64:1-8

In a recent conversation, where a friend shared with me that she’d abandoned her faith, I heard a familiar complaint: How can I believe in a God who doesn’t ever seem to do anything? This gut-wrenching question appears for most of us at one point or another, as we read of violence in the news and as we carry our own heartbreak. My friend’s distress revealed her intense need for God to act on her behalf, a longing we’ve all likely felt.

Israel knew this terrain well. The Babylonian Empire overwhelmed Israel, crushing them with an iron fist and turning Jerusalem into smoldering rubble. The prophet Isaiah put words to the people’s dark doubt: Where is the God who’s supposed to rescue us? (Isaiah 63:11–15). And yet from precisely this place, Isaiah offered a bold prayer: God, “rend the heavens and come down” (64:1). Isaiah’s pain and sorrow drove him not to pull away from God, but to seek to draw closer to Him.

Our doubts and troubles offer a strange gift: they reveal how lost we are and how much we need God to move toward us. We see now the remarkable, improbable story. In Jesus, God did rip the heavens and come to us. Christ surrendered His own ripped and broken body so that He could overwhelm us with His love. In Jesus, God is very near.

By Winn Collier

Today’s Reflection

What questions or doubts do you have to talk with God about?

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Spaghetti Monsters and One Less God

Among atheist advocates, it has become fashionable to dismiss theism with the mantra that unbelievers, like theists, are atheist with regard to a host of entities considered to be divine at sundry times throughout history. Atheists, we are told, merely acknowledge one less God than theists. If believers understood why they reject Zeus, the argument goes, they would understand why atheists reject their God.

Unfortunately, dismissing theism on such grounds betrays a paltry acquaintance with the very idea of God, let alone the God revealed in the Bible. It is true that many concepts of God present us with entities that are nothing more than glorified human beings. But anyone who is familiar with the relevant religious and philosophical literature on the subject does not need to be told that such untutored notions of God are just pointless red herrings. Popular level atheism may be fodder for invigorating debates on the Internet, but it has little, if anything at all, to do with God.

Take, for instance, the idea of God defended by such a prominent ancient philosopher as Aristotle. Whereas Zeus and his associates held sway at the popular level, David Conway notes that Aristotle defended a God who was unchanging, immaterial, all-powerful, omniscient and indivisible; a God who possessed “perfect goodness and necessary existence.”(1) That is a striking parallel to the God worshipped in the major monotheistic religions of the world. Even among the so-called animistic religions, it is a mistake to think that the concept of God is limited to spirits in natural objects and events, even in cases where the latter are venerated. As Timothy Tennent notes, adherents of these religions acknowledge a being who is the ground of all being.(2)

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Spaghetti Monsters and One Less God

Joyce Meyer – Short and Sweet

 

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you…for a pretense make long prayers… — Matthew 23:14 (NKJV)

Adapted from the resource Love Out Loud Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Sometimes people think they have to spend a long time praying in order to demonstrate their love for God. But prayer does not have to be long to be powerful.

The length of our prayers really makes no difference to God. All that matters is that our prayers are Spirit-led, heartfelt, and accompanied by true faith.

There is certainly nothing wrong with praying for an extended period of time. I believe we should set aside times for prolonged prayer and that our willingness or lack of willingness to spend time with God determines our level of intimacy with Him.

If issues in our lives really require us to pray at great length, then we need to do that, but we do not have to pray prolonged prayers just for the sake of logging time.

I have learned that some of the most powerful, effective prayers I can pray are things like, “Thank You, Lord,” or “Give me strength to keep going, Lord.” And perhaps the most powerful of all: “Help!!!”

See? Just a few words will connect us with heaven, and God will know how much we love Him simply because we turn our thoughts toward Him.

If you have thought your prayers had to be long in order to be effective, I hope you have now been relieved of that burden. Just one word spoken to Him in faith from a sincere heart can reach His heart and move His hand.

Prayer Starter: Father, let my prayers today be like breathing—easy, comfortable, and almost without thinking. Help my prayers and conversations with You become more genuine and meaningful—less about “have to” and more about “want to.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Power to Become Rich

 

“Always remember that it is the Lord your God who gives you power to become rich, and He does it to fulfill His promise to your ancestors” (Deuteronomy 8:18).

A Christian woman whom I knew, worth many millions of dollars, panicked when the stock market dropped and she lost almost one million dollars. Even though she had tens of millions in reserve, she was filled with apprehension and fear that she would die a pauper. She had never discovered the adventure and freedom of “giving and receiving” in a trust relationship with God.

Conversely, a businessman called me long distance a short time later to tell me how excited he was over the way God was blessing his new business venture. He had decided to give all the profits – potentially millions – toward helping to reach the world for Christ.

“I am sending $50,000 for Here’s Life in Asia,” he said. “And there will be much more later. I don’t want to invest in buildings. I want to invest this money where it will be used immediately to win and disciple people for Christ.”

The principle is the same, whether you have $100 or $1 million. Ask God to tell you what to do toward helping to fulfill the Great Commission. Second, look for a worthy, proven project that you can support monthly, if only modestly, in addition to your commitment to your local church.

As your faith in God’s love and trustworthiness grows, prayerfully make a faith promise pledge that is greater than you are capable of fulfilling with your present income.

Bible Reading:Malachi 3:7-12

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will ask God today to help me trust Him to give – by faith – more than I can possibly afford to give toward his work, with the certainty that He will supply all my needs and enable me to meet my faith promise pledge supernaturally.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Fear That God is Not Near

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

The valley of the shadow of doubt.  The fear that God isn’t near.  The fear that “why?” has no  answer.  In Luke 24:38, Jesus appeared to the disciples after his resurrection and he asked them, “Why are you frightened?  He offered them two practical answers– touch my body and ponder my story.

We still can, you know.  We can brush up against the church; and when we do, we touch the body of Christ.  He dissipates doubts through fellowship. When you interlock your understanding with mine, and we share our discoveries, Jesus speaks.  And when he speaks, he shares his story.  God’s go-to therapy for doubters is his own Word.  Could the chasm between doubt and faith be spanned with Scripture and fellowship?  Find out for yourself.

Read more Fearless

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – The key to serenity in a chaotic culture

Did you hear about the Pennsylvania man who has a registered emotional support alligator?

Joie Henney says his pet, Wally, likes to give hugs. Henney told reporters that his doctor gave him approval to use the five-foot-long alligator for emotional support rather than go on medication for depression. He frequently takes Wally to senior centers and minor-league baseball games. “He’s just like a dog,” he told a woman recently. “He wants to be loved and petted.”

When I read about Wally, I thought of an Indonesian woman who was keeping Merry, a fourteen-foot crocodile, as a pet. Earlier this month, she was killed and partially eaten by the animal.

There’s an old story about a scorpion and a frog who met on the bank of a stream. The scorpion asked the frog to carry him across the water on its back.

The frog asked, “How do I know you won’t sting me?”

The scorpion said, “Because if I do, I will die too.”

The frog was satisfied, and the two set out across the water. Midstream, the scorpion stung the frog.

As the frog started to sink, knowing they would both drown, it gasped, “Why?”

The scorpion replied: “It’s my nature.”

The danger of euphemisms Continue reading Denison Forum – The key to serenity in a chaotic culture